The apartment house is located in Kharkiv downtown which has a peculiar middle-rise scale, formed in the early twentieth century. The parcel of our small plot corresponded to the usual land use patterns in the neighborhood, but the building was planned to be a little higher than the existing scale. So we introduced a two-part composition, which consists of the main volume and the superstructure, retracted from the red line. The main brick volume is followed by the “wooden” layer. Old bricks, taken from a demolished building in the neighboring street, formed a substrate material for our project.
Brick, “wooden” panels and enameled glass refer to traditional architectural lexicon of Kharkiv, such as wrought details and wooden verandahs and extensions. Compositional structure and details have made it possible for the house to merge with the surrounding in such an inconspicuous way that it took citizens some time to become aware of the newly-erected building. Moreover, we managed to establish an interesting dialogue with the much older adjacent building, which shares a lot with the new one, but still has its own distinctive features.
The brick volume is made of the bricks retrieved from a demolished old building nearby. The new building appears to pass on the historical “flesh” and cultural code of the place. The project illustrates the principle of “cultural retrofitting” which might become the founding basis for a new type of zoning. The latter could specify the percentage of old and new materials that have to be used in construction.